Posted in ESL

HSSPA ESL Cafe wrap

HSSPA ESL Cafe started as a crazy idea back in January of this year. I was taking a teaching qualification and HSSPA didn’t have an English class at all — could we launch a successful ESL class with no experience whatsoever?  With the support of the Harvard International Office (especially Zarrin!) and with fellow teachers Helen Coskeran, and later, Julia Cennamo, we opened the class in March and decided to find out.  Here’s what happened:

We held our first Saturday class on 23rd March with a staggering 16 Harvard spouses in attendance.  In the seven months to the 9th November we covered:


  • Conditionals
  • Use of the verb ‘to get’
  • Use of ‘as’ and ‘than’
  • Adjectives and adverbs


  • Networking
  • Tipping
  • Going to the doctor


  • Writing – including restaurant reviews and persuasive travel writing
  • Pronunciation – the IPA, -ed endings


  • The body
  • Feelings
  • Jobs
  • Food and cooking
  • City landmarks
  • The family tree
  • Phrasal verbs for daily activities
  • Describing movies


Authentic materials:

…and lots lots more!

On Saturdays we’ve held 27, two-hour classes, 52 people have attended at least one class, the average class attendance was 7, and 22 countries were represented.


Where everyone came from!

While I’m taking a break until early 2014, ESL Cafe continues on Wednesdays 4.30-5.30 with the lovely Nicole.  Contact her at for more information.


Travel, photography, blogging, being an expat. And that's just in my spare time.

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